Dbytes #148 (13 May 2014)

Info & news for members and associates of the Environmental Decision Group
“Obviously no conservation biologist wants to do this. This is the absolute terminal situation to be in, but I’m afraid to tell everybody: we’re in a terminal situation. We’re confronting – you know – a whole raft of species that are about to go over the extinction cliff.”

David Bowman on conservation triage (on Lateline – http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2014/s3967500.htm ) and see item 3 on conservation triage.

General News

1. The ERF exposure draft legislation is now out for comment

2. Video! A guided tour through the policy factory

3. Should we Pander to Pandas?

4. Global conservation outcomes depend on marine protected areas with five key features

5. Crop yields and global food security

 

EDG News

General EDG News: The CEED Annual Report for 2013 is now online

Perth: Richard Hobbs and colleagues on “Conservation opportunities across the world’s anthromes

Melbourne: Community values of green open space to local government stakeholders

Brisbane: Marta Pascual has joined the UQ node

Canberra: Claire Foster on colleagues on effects of large native herbivores on other animals.

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1. The ERF exposure draft legislation is now out for comment

The Emissions Reduction Fund is the centrepiece of the Australian Government’s Direct Action Plan. The Emissions Reduction Fund will operate alongside existing programmes that are already working to offset Australia’s emissions growth such as the Renewable Energy Target and energy efficiency standards on appliances, equipment and buildings. Businesses and other members of the community are invited to send submissions on the draft Bill to emissions-reduction-submissions@environment.gov.au. The consultation period is open until 12 noon EST Friday 23 May 2014. http://www.environment.gov.au/node/35987

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2. Video! A guided tour through the policy factory

Dr Subho Banerjee, Deputy Secretary (Science, Research and Skills), Department of Industry, who has a PhD in Physics from ANU, explains how policy is made. Find out more here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hfuy9khZpzQ&feature=youtu.be -~<>~-

3. Should we Pander to Pandas?

The infinite monkey cage presents ‘Should we Pander to Pandas?’ that looks at species prioritization and the implications of putting so much time and money into megafauna. The details can be found at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/timc

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4. Global conservation outcomes depend on marine protected areas with five key features

Reference: Edgar et al. (2014) Global conservation outcomes depend on marine protected areas with five key features. Nature Volume: 506, Pages: 216–220. doi:10.1038/nature13022

In line with global targets agreed under the Convention on Biological Diversity, the number of marine protected areas (MPAs) is increasing rapidly, yet socio-economic benefits generated by MPAs remain difficult to predict and under debate. MPAs often fail to reach their full potential as a consequence of factors such as illegal harvesting, regulations that legally allow detrimental harvesting, or emigration of animals outside boundaries because of continuous habitat or inadequate size of reserve. Here we show that the conservation benefits of 87 MPAs investigated worldwide increase exponentially with the accumulation of five key features: no take, well enforced, old (>10 years), large (>100 km2), and isolated by deep water or sand. Using effective MPAs with four or five key features as an unfished standard, comparisons of underwater survey data from effective MPAs with predictions based on survey data from fished coasts indicate that total fish biomass has declined about two-thirds from historical baselines as a result of fishing. Effective MPAs also had twice as many large (>250 mm total length) fish species per transect, five times more large fish biomass, and fourteen times more shark biomass than fished areas. Most (59%) of the MPAs studied had only one or two key features and were not ecologically distinguishable from fished sites. Our results show that global conservation targets based on area alone will not optimize protection of marine biodiversity. More emphasis is needed on better MPA design, durable management and compliance to ensure that MPAs achieve their desired conservation value. http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v506/n7487/full/nature13022.html

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5. Crop yields and global food security ACIAR issued ‘Crop yields and global food security: will yield increases continue to feed the world?’ According to this book, the most effective way to advance food security and protect the environment from now is through continuing progress in crop yields across the globe. This is the key finding in a new book launched this month and written by three world renowned agricultural scientists. http://aciar.gov.au/news-and-media/yield-should-be-focus-achieving-global-food-security

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General EDG News: The CEED Annual Report for 2013 is now online http://ceed.edu.au/ceed-pubs/ceed-reports/162-2013-annual-report.html

Perth: Richard Hobbs and colleagues on “Conservation opportunities across the world’s anthromes” In a paper just out in Diversity and Distributions, Laura Martin and co-authors, including Richard Hobbs and Elizabeth Law (UQ) from CEED, explore how global-scale conservation planning can be conceptualized with anthromes, a recently developed biogeographical framework that maps global land use and land cover patterns created by sustained direct human interactions with ecosystems. They suggest that the anthromes framework is a promising tool that scientists, educators, and policymakers can use to describe global biogeographical patterns and to improve data sharing and conservation practices at the global and regional scale. Like biomes, anthromes could also be used to set future conservation priorities: conservation goals in areas directly shaped by humans need not be less ambitious than those in “natural areas.” Reference: Martin, L. J., J. E. Quinn, E. C. Ellis, M. R. Shaw, M. A. Dorning, L. M. Hallett, N. E. Heller, R. J. Hobbs, C. E. Kraft, E. Law, N. L. Michel, M. P. Perring, P. D. Shirey, and R. Wiederholt. 2014. Conservation opportunities across the world’s anthromes. Diversity and Distributions, DOI: 10.1111/ddi.12220 http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/(ISSN)1472-4642/earlyview

Melbourne: Community values of green open space to local government stakeholders Chris Ives and Cathy Oke (RMIT) presented preliminary results from their NERP project on community values of green open space to Local Government stakeholders in the Lower Hunter region. They ran two workshops to planners from Lake Macquarie City Council and Port Stephens Council in NSW on the 1st and 2nd of May. Survey data on community values for parks and reserves will be used to better plan for social and environmental outcomes in these municipalities.

Brisbane: Marta Pascual has joined the UQ node Marta works in the area of Ecosystem service valuation (ESV), an approach being developed as a vehicle to integrate the ecological and economic considerations needed to take into account for good management decisions. This approach of ESV deals, not only with the monetary, but also with the non-monetary values derived from these ES to society. Understanding the link between the functioning of ecosystems to human welfare is crucial for many decision-making contexts as shown in recent Marine Spatial Planning frameworks. Marta will be at UQ til December 2015, she is a Postdoctoral Researcher from Basque Centre for Climate Change (BC3), Bilbao, Spain. More info: marta.pascual@bc3research.org

Canberra: Claire Foster on colleagues on effects of large native herbivores on other animals. “Large mammalian herbivores are major drivers of the structure and function of terrestrial ecosystems worldwide, and changes in their abundance have resulted in many populations being actively managed. Many empirical studies have identified that abundant mammalian herbivores can have negative impacts on biodiversity, but there has been no specific review of the impacts of native mammalian herbivores.

We assessed the peer-reviewed literature on the effects of large native herbivores on other animals. We aimed to quantitatively synthesise current knowledge, identify gaps and limitations in the literature, and highlight priorities for future research…”

Reference: Foster, C.N., Barton, P.S., and Lindenmayer, D.B. (2014). Effects of large native herbivores on other animals. Journal of Applied Ecology, doi:10.1111/1365-2664.12268. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1365-2664.12268/abstract

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About Dbytes Dbytes is the eNewsletter of the Environmental Decisions Group. If you have any contributions to Dbytes (ie, opportunities and resources that you think might think be of value to other Dbyte readers) please send them to David Salt (David.Salt@anu.edu.au). Please keep them short and provide a link for more info. Also, email David if you want to unsubscribe (or subscribe someone else). While Dbytes is primarily aimed at members of the EDG, anyone is welcome to receive it.

 

About EDG The Environmental Decision Group (EDG) is a network of conservation researchers working on the science of effective decision making to better conserve biodiversity. Our members are largely based at the University of Queensland, the Australian National University, the University of Melbourne, the University of Western Australia, RMIT and CSIRO. The EDG is jointly funded by the Australian Government’s National Environmental Research Program (NERP) and the Australian Research Council’s Centre of Excellence program (CEED).

CEED: http://ceed.edu.au/

NERP ED: http://www.nerpdecisions.edu.au/

EDG: http://www.edg.org.au/

EDG major events: http://www.edg.org.au/events.html

Decision Point: http://www.decision-point.com.au/

 

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